Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

I Will Not Fear

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28
Today is the anniversary of 9/11, and as a country we pause in solemnity to remember the people who lost their lives on that tragic day at the hand of terrorists. We recall with gratitude and honor those who gave their lives in the service of others. We meditate on the horror of the day and pray that we’ll never see an attack of that kind again. We pray for peace and comfort for those who mourn their lost loved ones.
When I think of 9/11, I not only think of the tragedy, but I also bring to remembrance the American resolve and the spirit of unity that formed as people rushed to aid the injured and to comfort the hurting. I have the picture in my mind of tired, blood-stained workers lifting high the American flag as a sign of hope. I also think of the prayer, the candle lighting, the fundraising, and the other acts of love performed for strangers. Wounded but not destroyed.
Today we have many enemies. Terrorists have not repented of their murderous acts. As we mourn, they celebrate. Their religion tells them to do it. They won’t stop. They don’t desire peace. We could spend our lives in fear of what they may do, but then they’ve won, haven’t they? What do terrorists want? They want to kill and incite terror. They want  to terrorize us into submission unto a false god. NO!
I will not fear what man can do. I’ve got a God who is stronger and mightier than anything the enemy can throw at me. Even if I lose my life, I’m alive in Christ. When we are in the Lord, we cannot be destroyed. Like Daniel in the lion’s den, we are surrounded by danger, but if we put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have nothing to fear.
As we continue to remember 9/11, we must not forget to pray for peace. The peace we desire is not a false peace negotiated by crooked politicians and enemies with false smiles. The peace we pray for comes only from the Prince of Peace. Praying that every terrorist would fall to his knees and know the power and love of Jesus Christ. Praying for eyes to be opened. Praying for the peace of Jerusalem. Praying that every man and woman would be ready for the coming of Jesus.
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Do Christians Focus Too Much on Marriage?

I have heard more than a couple times people criticizing some Christians and churches for focusing too much on the God-given and God-designed union of marriage. I’ve heard people make statements like, “oh it’s all about marriage at that church” or “they elevate marriage too much.” I wanted to address the issue of why marriage is an important topic to discuss, but first I’d like to talk about why there are people who seem to be offended by too much marriage talk.

People like myself, who feel called to the ministry of marriage, may sometimes struggle with being understanding of a person who seems almost anti-marriage. The truth in most cases is those who have a hard time with a church or a group focusing a lot on marriage  are usually people who are single, widowed or in a lonely, struggling marriage. It’s important that instead of getting frustrated, we understand that these ladies are going through pain. Perhaps hearing about marriage all of the time and seeing married couples always clinging to each other causes them to long even more for that relationship. Perhaps it makes them mourn for a lost love. Even worse, it reminds them that they feel trapped in an unloving marriage. Sometimes there is a problem with the church not meeting the needs of ALL the members. The singles and widows need focus too. They need ministry and opportunities to serve too.

I think I understand their perspective more so being a woman who has struggled with infertility. While children are such a blessing, and I was always happy for a sister in the Lord who had a baby, there was also such hurt and longing in me that it was sometimes difficult to be around pregnant women or people with babies. It was hard to see the children being such a focus when I couldn’t have any. I’m so grateful now for my precious little girl –  a gift straight from God! I do, however, see how a single person or widow would feel neglected and hurt by a church family that focused all its attention on marriage.

That being said, while I feel we should not neglect or ignore anyone, there is an important place for marriage. Here are some reasons why marriage is an extremely important issue to focus on:

1. Marriage is Gift from God: God focuses a lot on relationships in the Bible, and He speaks a great deal on the topic of marriage. He created marriage in the book of Genesis and He make it sacred. He made it to be a lifelong covenant, and in Malachi 2 we see that God hates the act of divorcing. When Jesus is asked about divorce in Matthew 19:8, He said that divorce was allowed because of the hardening of hearts, but from the beginning it was not so. God never wanted divorce. That’s why marriage vows typically say “til death do we part”, and yet to some 41-44% of couples who marry today, those are just empty words.

2. Christian marriage produces godly offspring: In talking about marriage Malachi said, “But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring.” Malachi 2:15a. Christian marriage is important to the youth of this generation. According to the US Census Bureau, grown children of happily married parents are about 14% less likely to divorce their own spouse. Of all children, close to half will witness the end of their parents’ marriage and, of those kids, half of them will witness the end of a parent’s second marriage as well. According to an article by the Huffington post, children of divorce are seven times more likely to suffer from depression. Also, of all the adolescents in substance rehabilitation clinics, some 75% are from single-parent homes. Similar statistics are true for prison. Marriage is important because a godly marriage is good for children.

3. Marriage is a reflection of our relationship with God: Ephesians 5 and other parts of scripture show us that earthly marriage is a reflection of the relationship of Christ and the church. We are the bride and He is the Bridegroom. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Revelation 21:9

4. A godly marriage is a requirement for church leadership, elders/pastors and deacons. (Titus 1:6, 1 Tim 3:2, 1 Tim 3:12). A man whose home in not in order should not be serving in church leadership until he puts things right. That means a wife who is not living her life according to God’s statutes can disqualify her husband from leadership by her conduct. Does this mean that a man has to be married to serve? We don’t know if the emphasis of the verses in on the “one” wife or “husband”. In other words, is it important that he’s married, or just that he only has one as opposed to many? Well, God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone and he needed a helper. On the other hand, Paul said that some are called to singleness. So, the answer is: I don’t know. What we do know for certain is that if a man is married, and he wants to serve in ministry, he should have his home in order.

5. Sex: That’s right! “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:2 According to God’s Word, sexual intimacy is only good and right inside the union of marriage. Today more and more couples choose to live together and put off getting married. They are living in sexual sin because marriage has lost its place of importance to much of the younger generation. Today people are shocked when two virgins in their twenties get married. It’s rare for people to hold onto their purity. So it’s important to focus on marriage and to teach the young people that sex is only okay inside marriage.

There are many more reasons that marriage is an important topic, but this is quite a long blog already. While we need to be careful not to exclude singles and our widows, we also need to focus even more on the union of marriage. We know that it’s important to God, so it should be important to us too.

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Celebrating our Anniversary

“My beloved is mine, and I am his…” Songs 2:16

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These are the very words I had etched into my husband’s wedding band seven years ago. Today we celebrate our wedding anniversary and I continue to be in awe of what God has done in our lives. If I were to tell you the seven years have been easy and carefree, I’d be fibbing. We have had our share of trials and struggles. We didn’t do everything right along the way, or even when we first began. We had been living for ourselves and not for Jesus Christ. Praising the Lord that He had mercy on us and in His abundant grace pulled us from the miry clay and set our feet upon the Rock! God has changed us radically and the closer we draw to Him, the nearer we are to each other.

Anniversaries are such a wonderful occasion to celebrate. It used to be in medieval times that people only celebrated the big ones, such as 25th and 50th. As time went on people started celebrating on the 1st, 10th, 20th and so forth. Now most people celebrate every year, which is great. William and I went a step further. We actually had two weddings! One was on a Tuesday morning in a small church with only a handful in attendance. We had to get legally married to start the immigration paperwork for me to move to Scotland with my very Scottish husband! At our first wedding, I wore a nice pair of dress pants and my husband wore a kilt! hehe

We had a bigger wedding about four months later. We were able to write our own vows, celebrate with friends and family, and this time all the men in the wedding wore kilts! With two anniversaries we started to debate which one we should celebrate. Finally it his us…why not celebrate them both?! Of course! We love to celebrate us! My husband remembers both anniversaries faithfully and he also remembers the anniversary of the day he proposed! Yay William!

I think anniversaries are a great way to focus in every year (or twice a year for us) on the love you share and how far God has brought you. We are not perfect. Our marriage isn’t perfect. If we didn’t have Christ in the center of it I doubt we would have made it this far. We are both wretched, selfish sinners whom have experienced the grace of God in a real way.

Listen, God wants to give us all beautiful marriages. If we are willing to submit to His ways, His Word and His plan for marriage, He can do miraculous things in our lives together. I am so grateful that God has worked in our marriage and continues to work, helping us to love one another with His kind of agape love instead of the world’s “what-can-you-do-for-me” kind of love.

Happy Anniversary my beloved husband! I am yours and you are mine!

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